The paper analyses the concept and performance of compact UASB/TF systems in relation to configuration, use of innovative packing media and operational conditions. For the conditions tested, the UASB/TF systems had consistently complied with the Brazilian discharge standard regarding to COD, BOD and TSS parameters. However, some enhancements are still necessary in order to increase nitrification in the process. The conditions to promote nitrification in shallow TF (packed bed up to 2.50 m height) seem to be compatible with the proposed simplification in the flowsheet, which is to operate the system without secondary clarifiers.